. . . If, then, a person asks how he is to know whether he is dreaming on in the world’s slumber, or is really awake and alive unto God, let him first fix his mind upon some one or other of his besetting infirmities. Every one who is at all in the habit of examining himself, must be conscious of such within him. Many men have more than one, all of us have some one or other; and in resisting and overcoming such, self-denial has its first employment. One man is indolent and fond of amusement, another man is passionate or ill-tempered, another is vain, another has little control over his tongue; others are weak, and cannot resist the ridicule of thoughtless companions; others are tormented with bad passions, of which they are ashamed, yet are overcome. Now let every one consider what his weak point is; in that is his trial. His trial is not in those things which are easy to him, but in that one thing, in those several things, whatever they are, in which to do his duty is against his nature.
In a recent article in HPR, I stressed the need in the Church for adult formation. 1 Of course, the leadership of the Church knows the need very well! But, the inconvenient truth is that there is widespread neglect in following through on the well-documented magisterial recognition of that need. The many wonderful documents that teach the rightful priority of adult formation don’t seem to make it down to the pews. That, however, was the subject of the first article: we need adult formation in the faith!
In this article, I hope to stress a simple but essential prerequisite to that needed formation. Without this one thing, all the formal education in the faith will remain merely on the surface of the person. Is that so bad? Yes, it is. God sees the heart, and wants to pour his life and his love and his truth into human minds and hearts. God seeks to gather human persons—mind, will, body—into blessed communion with him.
Yesterday on the blog we pondered that Mass attendance has held steady for Catholics at around 25% for at least a decade now and that there is a lot of coming and going in the number. So it is helpful to understand that things may be currently more stable than many of us presume.
That said, as a Catholic and a priest I remain quite stunned at the decline in Mass attendance during my overall lifetime. When I was a little child I remember jam packed Masses, get there early or stand. In those days of the early to mid sixties if you put up four walls Catholics would fill them. There were waiting lists for the parochial School, lots of Religious Sisters, and there was not just an associate pastor or curate, there was a first, second, third and fourth curate.
Proclaim the word; be persistent whether it is convenient or inconvenient; convince, reprimand, encourage through all patience and teaching. For the time will come when people will not tolerate sound doctrine but, following their own desires and insatiable curiosity, will accumulate teachers, and will stop listening to the truth, and will be diverted to myths. But you, be self possessed in all circumstances; put up with hardship; perform the work of an evangelist; fulfill your ministry 1 Timothy 4:2-5.
Let us not forget that the month of October is dedicated to Our Lady of the Rosary and today starts the Year of Faith where we have been asked to pray the rosary on a daily basis.
Anglican Archbishop Rowan Williams gives some sound advice at the synod for the New Evangelization.
Get back to Real Catholicism and jettison the watered-down, protestant-like Catholic Lite that is so popular today.
Not only are the results of this survey shameful but they are an indictment that the Church has done a very poor job in catechizing their flocks. They had better get busy before we lose religious liberty completely.